Waikoloa resident represents Hawaii as 2017 Elizabeth Dole Foundation Dole Caregiver Fellow
WAIKOLOA — Last Wednesday, The Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced its 2017 class of Dole Caregiver Fellows. Jessica Root of Waikoloa is one of 31 military and veteran caregivers carefully selected from across the country to represent the Foundation.
As a military/veteran caregiver, Root will represent the state of Hawaii from 2017-2019. She served in the Air Force for six years.
As leaders in their communities, these men and women share their personal stories to bring vital attention to the tremendous challenges caregivers face. They advocate for America’s military and veteran caregivers through the Foundation’s newly launched Hidden Heroes initiative, using their voices and perspective to advise the Foundation, its coalition partners and government leaders on the foremost issues concerning military caregivers.
Additionally, the Dole Caregiver Fellows empowers other caregivers at HiddenHeroes.org, a premier online destination where military caregivers can access vetted resources, seek support and connect to a larger community.
“I believe that it takes a village … And I am so excited to work with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation as a Fellow to learn as much as I can about resources and services available for caregivers and their veterans within my community,” Root said. “I hope to share these resources and knowledge to empower them to advocate for themselves and their communities as well. By all of us working together and sharing knowledge, we can bring awareness to the needs of our caregivers and their veterans directly.”
She had been caring for her longtime boyfriend and now fiancé, Erich Brockmoeller, for more than seven years but did not realize she was a caregiver until someone else told her. A veteran herself and receptionist at a local medical clinic, Root provides him physical and emotional support for issues he struggles with stemming from severe post-traumatic stress (PTS) as a post 9/11 veteran.
Former Sen. Elizabeth Dole created the Foundation’s cornerstone Dole Caregivers Fellows Program to directly engage military and veteran caregivers.
“We are excited to have Jessica as part of the 2017 class of Dole Caregiver Fellows. Each Fellow is an essential part of the Foundation’s work,” said Dole. “They are ambassadors, advocates, advisors and spokespersons not only for the Foundation but for military and veteran caregivers across the nation. In addition to providing vital help to those who serve our country, the Fellows support the work of the Foundation and our partners by lending their firsthand knowledge, skills, expertise and personal experiences to our shared mission.”
The new Fellows’ class represents 25 states and the District of Columbia, adding to a remarkable group of 110 military caregivers who have already served as Fellows and who represent all 50 states and Puerto Rico. From homemakers, professors and former high school teachers to police officers, writers, business owners and nurses, the Fellows’ stories are diverse, but together they capture the strength and resiliency inherent to the 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers across America.